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    Performers Renée Lubin and Dr. Dee Spencer Recommend Their Favorite Places in and Around Healdsburg

    Renée Lubin and Dr. Dee Spencer

    Here’s a basic tip: If you are ever seeking a recommendation for a hotel, restaurant, bar, coffee shop, winery, museum, or more, ask a musician friend. Since musicians are on the road so much, eat out a lot, and know venues from the inside out, they usually have a lot of opinions about where to go, and what to skip, in any given location.

    We therefore reached out to two of our favorite local musicians, Renée Lubin and Dr. Dee Spencer, to learn about places in and around Healdsburg for this issue of the San Francisco Bay Times featuring the Healdsburg Wine and Food Experience (HWFE). Singer, actress, and educator Lubin lives in the Wine Country (where her son now works) and is a former leading performer of Beach Blanket Babylon. Dr. Spencer is a professor of music at San Francisco State University, where she founded the university’s Jazz Studies program. The two often perform together, including at Divas & Drinks @ The Academy SF events co-presented by the San Francisco Bay Times, and at venues ranging from Davies Symphony Hall to stages at top wineries.

    Dr. Spencer shared the following recommendations for those going to the HWFE or to the overall region for a day trip, longer road trip, or an extended vacation:

    Downtown Napa

    1. Be Bubbly Lounge & Bistro – “Great champagne bar with yummy small plates and live music.”

    2. Blue Note Napa- “Intimate and elegant room that features live jazz. Good food and full bar also.”


    1. Handwritten Wines- “I love this winery. Great selection.”

    2. Jessup Cellars – “The tasting service is excellent.”


    1. Rainbow Cattle Company – “Popular gay bar on Main Street. All the locals hang out at this friendly, cheerful room. It’s huge and has pool tables and a back patio.”

    2. R3 Hotel – “Historic gay hotel that is an entertainment center for the community. It has a pool and offers drag shows occasionally. The restaurant serves great food with huge portions.”

    3. boon hotel + spa – “Amazing food and great service.”

    4. Piknik Town Market – “Perfect for a quick sandwich.”


    Costeaux French Bakery – “Eat your way to paradise.”

    Lubin added:


    1. Brix – “Consistently good, with beautiful gardens and outdoor seating.”

    2. Fumé Bistro & Bar – “Home-style comfort with great, tasty dishes in a very casual setting.”


    Rutherford Grill – “Good food and service.”


    R+D Kitchen – “Like Rutherford Grill, it is part of the Hillstone Restaurant Group and has good food and service.”

    Ciccio – “Best pizza in the valley, hands down. It’s a cute, small restaurant with other offerings that keep folks packing the place.”

    St. Helena

    Brasswood Bar + Bakery – “Never disappoints and has excellent service. Be sure to ask for the house-made cheese appetizer.”

    For more recommendations, including how to enjoy a 48-hour dream trip to Healdsburg, go to:

    Arts & Entertainment
    Published on April 4, 2024